Plush Dissected Knit Creatures and Other Scientific Wonders

March 31st, 2015

For several years, people have been able to experience the joys of plush microbes (these are awesome), plush subatomic particles, and even plush statistical distributions.

Well, for people who are more into anatomy — or who want a soft way of learning about it — you can also get plush versions of dissected animals (and other creatures).

dissected knitted creatures

(Thanks to Leslie Porter for bringing the knit dissected creatures to our attention. Some of us are already proud owners of plush microbes, statistical distributions, etc.)

Stirring rendition of “Shake It Off”, by Cornell chemists

March 31st, 2015

Chemists at Cornell University concocted this video tribute to both (1) chemistry and (2) Taylor Swift’s music video “Shake It Off”:

Here’s Taylor Swift:

(Thanks to investigator Michelle Kearns for bringing this to our attention.)

Ig Nobel Prize-winning research produces tear-less onions

March 31st, 2015

Chemistry research that led to an Ig Nobel Prize has now led to an onion that does not cause tears,  reportedly. The Wall Street Journal‘s JapanRealtime blog reports:

No Crying in the Kitchen: Japan Firm Engineers Tear-Less Onions

House Foods Group Inc. knows its onions.

The Japanese food maker, whose researchers have been studying the chemistry of onions for more than a decade, on Monday said it has developed onions that produce an extremely low amount of enzymes which creates compounds that make so many cooks tear up when chopping the vegetables raw….

House Foods’ researchers won the Ig Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2013 for discovering the biochemical process of how onions brings tears to the eyes. Their study was published in Nature magazine in 2002.

The news is reported in many other places, among Le Pointe, which boasts the headline “Quand les oignons ne nous feront plus pleurer !

A simple bounce test for lively versus dying batteries

March 31st, 2015

This video shows how a mechanical “bounce test” can reveal how much electrical charge remains in an ordinary alkaline AA battery:

SteingartChemistry World magazine explains: “Inspired by a YouTube video, scientists in the US have confirmed that a simple bounce test can be used as a technique to indicate charge in a battery… A team led by Daniel Steingart [pictured here] of Princeton University have correlated the coefficient of restitution (COR), a measure of bounce, with batteries at various charges and determined their charge to a similar degree of accuracy as in situ energy-dispersive x-ray diffraction (EDXRD).”

Steingart’s team published a study in which they explain the details.

Professor Flegr interviewed on Swedish radio

March 30th, 2015

Jaroslav Flegr was interviewed on Sveriges Radio today, while he was in Stockholm on the final day of the Ig Nobel EuroTour. The subject: toxoplasma and cats and humans, and about Professor Flegr’s Ig Nobel Prize. The interview is mostly in English.

The 2014 Ig Nobel Prize for medicine was awarded to Jaroslav Flegr, Jan Havlíček and Jitka Hanušova-Lindova, and to David Hanauer, Naren Ramakrishnan, and Lisa Seyfried, for investigating whether it is mentally hazardous for a human being to own a cat.

BONUS: A question for Professor Flegr.